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NOWFE Kicks Off Their Event Season With The Ella Brennan Award Gala

Photo provided by NOWFE

The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) is popping their first bottles of the year January 25, 2018 to honor Emeril Lagasse, a man of many talents including celebrity chef, restaurateur, author, television personality and philanthropist, with the 2018 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award at a gala celebration held at The Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street.

The Ella Brennan Award recognizes one individual each year that has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to the community. A handful of the award’s past recipients include Chef Paul Prudhomme, Chef Leah Chase, and local restaurateur Ralph Brennan.

Guests of the gala will be able to enjoy a jazz trio from NOCCA and libations by Pernod Ricard, Cathead Vodka, Nickel & Nickel, Moët Hennessy (on the VIP tables), and more as well as dishes from some of New Orleans’ most recognized chefs and restaurateurs. Curious what restaurants will be in attendance? Check out some local love for the gala’s five-star lineup below:

*Photos sourced from Yelp do not reflect dishes being served but the quality of expertise that can be expected from these wonderful participating restaurants.

VIP Reception 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Hors d’Oeuvres

Chef Aarón Sánchez of Johnny Sánchez
930 Poydras St New Orleans, LA 70112

Photo by Yelper Adrienne H.

“I can’t remember that last restaurant I was in that was as much “fun” as Johnny Sánchez. From walking in to leaving I had a smile on my face and the staff genuinely seemed happy to see us. The decor here is great and the servers are friendly.”
-Yelp Elite Nazary N.


Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s Restaurant
723 Dante St New Orleans, LA 70118

Photo by Yelp Elite Sarah M.

“When you go to a restaurant and the owner-chef is there and his lovely wife is running the front, you know it will be wonderful dining experience. And it was. The Brigtsen’s passion for food and service is evident as you progress through course after course.”
-Yelp Elite Fernando E.


Award Dinner 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.: Participating Restaurants:

Chef Nina Compton of Compère Lapin
The Old No 77 Hotel and Chandlery 535 Tchoupitoulas St New Orleans, LA 70130

Photo by Yelper Kwame W.

“If I could give this restaurant more stars I would. It was amazing…The atmosphere was inviting and not stuffy. The food…. oh my goodness the food! I had the seafood soup – so delicious. I have know idea what type of voodoo they used on the Brussels sprouts but I will be back just for that. Great place!”
-Yelper Nijel B.


Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona
430 Dauphine St New Orleans, LA 70112

Photo by Yelper Michael U.

“Will always be one of my all-time favorite restaurants in New Orleans (which has a lot to do with my obsession with the sweetbreads here). My most recent visit was for my birthday and it was such a memorable experience. The staff were so warm and helpful, the atmosphere was classy and welcoming, and the food (as always) was fantastic.”
-Yelper Stephanie S.


Pastry Chef Jeremy Fogg of Emeril’s New Orleans
800 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Photo by Yelper VixCyn P.

“The entire meal was exquisite from start to finish. The staff was attentive and perfect and went out of their way to make sure that we had everything that we needed. Emeril’s is one of the finest restaurants in New Orleans, and a “must” for locals and visitors alike.”
-Yelper Marielle S.


Chef Austin Kirzner of Red Fish Grill
115 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130

Photo by Yelp Elite Annie H.

“Apart from being an absolutely stunning place, it is extremely comfortable and the service is great…Every single dish was delicious in its own way. So many vegetarian options so much delicious food. I have lived in New Orleans four years, and this is one of my favorite restaurants here.”
-Yelp Elite Ariadna M.


Chef Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace
1403 Washington Ave New Orleans, LA 70130

Photo by Yelp Elite Dean C.

“They have the best brunch on Sunday with live jazz. The ambiance is amazing and the service was impeccable. I will be back. Try the turtle soup…so good!”
-Yelper Briana L.


Chef Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery
845 N Carrolton New Orleans, LA 70119

Photo by Yelper A T.

The food, hands down, to die for, the cocktails expertly curated, the ambiance not stuffy and very chill. Knowing this place is in my neighborhood is great and I will totally be back, again and again. If you are in the area come by! If you are not make the trip and get here…now!”
-Yelp Elite Noelle M.


Chef Alex Harrell of Angeline
1032 Chartres St New Orleans, LA 70116

Photo by Yelper Giselle D.

Angeline is hands-down one of the top restaurants in New Orleans. Chef Alex’s menu is focused, yet filled with interesting, delicious options and the kitchen executes each dish to perfection. The service is consistently outstanding; every server we have had has been knowledgeable, attentive, smart, gracious and never ever pretentious.”
-Yelper Jon K.


The Ritz-Carlton*
921 Canal St New Orleans, LA 70112
*The Ritz-Carlton will also be providing cuisine for the After Party.

Photo by Yelper Herb T.

“The atmosphere was elegant and classy and everything was very open…All of their servers provided great service as well. Overall a great dining experience and can’t wait to go back.”
-Yelp Elite Molly L.


After Party Presented by Hancock Whitney 10 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.: Participating Restaurants:
*Includes Ritz-Carlton

Chef Greg Sonnier of Gabrielle Restaurant
441 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119

Photo by Yelper Kyle W.

“I’m very excited to say that I have worked my way through the entire menu at Gabrielle and I have found nothing disappointing. In fact all of the food is so rich and amazing that I’m in a constant state of wonder by what comes out of that kitchen.”
-Yelper Victor P.

If you would like a seat at the table to enjoy dishes from this cornucopia of amazing chefs, tickets are available for purchase on NOWFE’s website here. NOWFE is a non-profit organization with 100% of proceeds going to causes that support culinary education. Over the past 26 years, they’ve raised more than $1.2 million for local non-profit organizations. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to meet local chefs and restauranteurs, celebrate Emeril Lagasse, dine on delicious dishes all the while supporting local organizations!

For a full list of the restaurants listed above, check out our bookmark collection here.